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Pholiota highlandensis by Mike Wood.

Pholiota molesta (Peck) Smith and Hesler is a mushroom-forming member of Strophariaceae (Basidiomycota). It produces small to moderate-sized, yellow-brown mushrooms with a sticky caps and ovoid shaped spores. Most Pholiota species are wood-decaying saprobes, and their fruiting bodies are attached to wood. P. highlandensis differs in that it fruits on the burnt ground and is restricted to post-fire environments (Smith et al 1968). In this habitat they can be highly abundant. The sequenced strain of this species is derived from the Rim Fire area in Stanislaus National Forest in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, and it is likely to be slightly different from the Eastern North American populations where the species was originally described. P. highlandensis and other fungi that are limited to burned habitats are called pyrophilous (fire-loving) fungi, and currently little is known about what such fungi feed on in these post-fire environments. Understanding the role of pyrophilous fungi in post-fire soils is important, as they are likely to affect the fate of carbon storage in these environments, and may affect the productively and recovery of burnt forest soils.


Genome Reference(s)


Smith, A.H., Hesler, L.R. 1968. The North American Species of Pholiota. Hafner Publishing Company, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 68‐55067